The power of autonomous systems
Rapid advancements in hardware and software capabilities in recent years mean that the time is now right for a fully automated aerial system to take over from traditional aeromedical solutions.
The agility of the 3D printed UAV hardware developed by Swoop Aero is complemented by a full logistics management software system that sits in the background, leveraging off artificial intelligence in the autopilot and machine learning capabilities to make the system fully autonomous and easy-to-use.
UAVs are significantly smaller than airplanes or helicopters, and far more flexible to use. The Swoop Aero Kookaburra aircraft have vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities, just like a helicopter. This means they don’t require costly and complex ground infrastructure to take-off or land, and can be deployed to anywhere in the world and be operational within 72 hours. That means that aeromedical solutions and better healthcare can be brought to millions of people that would otherwise not have this type of access, or perhaps any access to healthcare at all.
Agile and cost-effective
Sending drones to deliver medication in or collect samples from remote communities is not only much cheaper than using a manned aircraft to move the person requiring care, it can also be cheaper than the current car- or boat-based transport methods used for supplies. Whilst everyone should have access to basic healthcare as a human right, no matter what the cost of delivering it to them, that is sadly not the reality at the moment. Drones can, however, overcome almost any infrastructure challenge, whether that is an “impassable” mountain range, a road that has been washed away in the rainy season, or a treacherous body of water. They can also do this at a low cost, and respond on demand to needs as they occur. This agile and cost effective solution means that in a future where drones are incorporated into the healthcare supply chain, more people will be given access to the basic healthcare they deserve. In addition to being cost-effective in dollar terms, this is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional land and air transport in terms of environmental externalities as well, as the Swoop Aero drones are fully electric and can be charged using solar energy for a fully carbon neutral supply chain.
Telehealth and aeromedical solutions
In remote Australia and archipelagos such as the Philippines, telehealth is becoming more and more common as a way of responding to increasing healthcare needs of a growing population, whilst not sending healthcare bills through the roof. Combining drone deliveries of medications or test samples with telehealth services used to diagnose patients is another way in which healthcare can be delivered to all those that need it, in a cost effective manner. This combination allows those that may not be able or want to leave their communities to be treated in situ, rather than having to make a long and often costly journey to visit a doctor and collect their medication.
The future of healthcare
The use of aircraft in healthcare is changing. Technological advances and innovative new solutions to healthcare supply chain issues mean that the time is now right to overhaul the status quo with a flexible and cost-effective solution. Using UAVs like the one that Swoop Aero has developed to resolve last mile logistics and allow patients to be treated closer to home is a clear benefit for the patients, and indicates a positive move towards a future where the basic healthcare needs of all are met, no matter where they live.
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